Tag Archives: parking

ConAgra and the Riverfront — a turning point

13 Dec

After the announced contraction of the Omaha workforce in 2016, ConAgra began plans to expand its Old Market campus with acres of new parking. Back when the ConAgra campus was built, it tried to conceal parking lots into brick-faced structures and then built more than enough parking for all of its buildings.

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The  photo above shows the ground between ConAgra and the Harriman Dispatch Center of Union Pacific. This area used to have 21 trees and acres of green grass in a swale. Now there spreads an area prepared for pavement for 99 parking spaces, dedicating the land to only one purpose. Once this dedicated parking area is complete, ConAgra has three more construction permits filed with the City of Omaha to build three more parking expanses after this one on its Old Market campus.

The questions we have to ask: what are we doing; what do we want? Continue reading

Citizens’ Academy Spring 2016 — Local Government & Planning

5 May

The Spring 2016 Citizens’ Academy is coming to a close this week. Here are the key takeaways from the first two sessions, on Placemaking & Local Government and Local & Regional Planning:

Omaha’s government is led by an elected (partisan) official. Some cities are governed by city managers. Many consider election-based city leadership more legitimate than leadership hired by the City Council because the purpose of having public elections is to reflect what the majority wants in its city governance. The advantage of city managers over elected officials is that they are not politicians, but “professionals.” Yet, even though city managers are (technically) non-partisan, they are still human and can be influenced to choose sides. Continue reading

Creating a true renaissance in downtown Omaha

15 Apr

By Angie Eikenberry and Dale Rabideau

The Apr 11 Omaha World Herald editorial, Downtown jobs critical for momentum, raises some good questions. Citing a 2013 Brookings Institution report, the editorial notes that “Of 58 midsize metros, we ranked 46th in percentage of jobs in the inner core,” which is near our ranking of 41st largest city in the nation and better than our ranking as 59th largest metropolitan statistical area. Definitely room for improvement but no need to ring the alarm bells.

OWH mentions continued momentum as a primary goal to continue the renaissance downtown. The original Renaissance came about by new thinking, new attitudes, and new directions of investments. If Omaha really wants a renaissance, it will require continuing to question old ways and to seek new ideas and best practices for a better tomorrow.

We can start by questioning the out-dated and mistaken assumption that more parking means more jobs. A recent University of Connecticut study found that as cities increase parking availability, the number of jobs and people actually decrease in the downtown area. More parking does not equal more jobs. Continue reading